Shining Face | Devotion 6: Mountains
MJ Johns

Currently, we are driving through the mountains of Yellowstone Park in Montana and Wyoming to visit our son, Logan who is working here for the summer. I cannot express how breathtaking the views are! Logan is stepping out of his comfort zone to lead people, work hard, preach sermons, and lead worship at the park. It has been a growing experience. Logan is surrounded by an extremely liberal and godless people who do not even know or understand that they are lost. He has also met some Christians that are on fire for God and Christians who loosely follow Jesus and are involved in partying. This has been a disappointment to him, yet he still loves. People are important, but they are not where our hope is found. God’s faithfulness, steadfast love, beauty, and grace have been evident and life-changing to our sweet son! After this summer in the mountains, I dare say, Logan will not be the same young man he was when he left.

After driving through the mountains, hiking through the rough terrain, and huffing and puffing up the steep slopes (the altitude thing is legit), it is so fitting that I am reading about Moses’ mountain experience. As Moses was hiking, I am sure he witnessed similar valleys, rivers, and incredible views like we are seeing.

The highest point in Yellowstone is 11,372 feet. I would love to tell you that we conquered it, but alas, there is just no way (Once again, I blame the altitude, not the fact that I am completely out of shape). Mount Sinai, in Egypt, is 7,497 feet. Moses did hike this. In the Old Testament, God chose this mountain to speak to Moses by giving him the Ten Commandments. However, more importantly, God revealed Himself to Moses.

In Exodus 34:29-35, it says, “When Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.”

If we are willing to face it, the human being is naturally sinful, vain, lost, hard-hearted, and godless. We all have seen the reckless partying first hand, and the Israelites were not the exception. They had been caught worshipping an idol of a silly golden calf, for goodness sake. Yet, God called Moses to serve these people. When he brought the Ten Commandments down the mountain and spoke to the people of Israel after this encounter with God, he was completely unaware that his face was different. Moses had seen the absolute beauty and glory of our living God and was demonstrating obedience in sharing what had been commanded to him. It actually terrified people to look at his shining face. He put a veil or cloth over it when he spoke to the people so they would not be afraid. What does the glory of God look like? I think this is just beyond my simple comprehension, but I truly believe that God gave Moses an altered appearance on his skin so that the people would know and understand that Yahweh had spoken to him and that these Ten Commandments were for real, “So listen up.”

Here is what I think:

  1. People matter, so love unconditionally (No matter how pagan they are). Be bold. Do not put a veil over the hope we have in God.
  2. Be the voice, the very skin that shows His power, beauty, and forgiveness. Be that light to both those who claim to know Jesus but just “do not get it” and those who are not there yet. We need to allow a completely holy God to make us different, so we do not “blend” into sin.
  3. In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Paul says basically that Moses was not alone. Jesus also had a big experience on the mountain. Moses shining face was just a taste of what was to come through Jesus Christ. Have confidence and rest in this truth.

After we spend time with God on the mountain or valleys low, we need to take a beat, reflect, wonder, and then shine.

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